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Rationing Delhi’s roads seem to be difficult without strong public transport system: Experts

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New Delhi: As the Delhi government on Friday decided to ration Delhi’s roads by allowing even and odd vehicles to ply on alternate days, environmentalists expressed their doubts on the implementation of the policy with no strong public transport system.

The decision, taken at a meeting presided over by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, will not apply to CNG-driven buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws but will also cover vehicles entering Delhi from other states.

Vikrant Tongad, an environmentalist working with Delhi-based Social Action for Forest and Environment also expressed his concerns regarding this

Implementation of this policy is going to put an extreme lot of pressure on both the government and the car drivers. When we do not have a strong public transport system, how can we expect everyone to adhere to this,

The city has been allowing some outdated trucks and public buses which also contribute to pollution in significant amounts and there needs to be the check on all these too before private vehicles are targeted, Tongad said.

He apprehended the success of implementing this policy and said if public transport was in a strong shape in the city, people would be deterred from using their personal vehicles.

This policy – like the one taken in Beijing in 2013 – will apply to a large bulk of the some 90 lakh vehicles registered in Delhi, where about 1,500 new vehicles are added every day.

Delhi’s vehicular population – which cause choking jams on all weekdays – includes some 27 lakh cars.

Echoing similar views, Sugato Sen, an automobile expert, said: “There are many who can afford a second car in the city if they need. This policy could work against what it is meant for.”

The government needs to give alternatives – like a foolproof public transport, well-knit metro routes- before making such moves, Sen said, adding replicating Beijing’s ways is not always the solution.

Beijing, though, has a high vehicular population, and has managed to fight its pollution with its strong public transport system, he said.

The decisions came a day after the Delhi High Court said that the national capital was like a gas chamber, and sought immediate action from the central and Delhi governments.

Delhi recently replaced Beijing’s spot of being the city with the filthiest air in the world. According to the Central Pollution Control Board, the air quality of Delhi is said to be “very poor” on any day, with an average air quality index of 331.

When the air quality index ranges between 301 and 400, the air is said to cause respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.

(Inputs from IANS)

(Picture Courtesy:-www.livemint.com)

 

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Youth in polluted cities at increased risk of Alzheimer’s

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Climate Trends works on solutions to air pollution, while Co Media Lab is a community media lab.
Pollution can lead to Alzheimer's in youth. Wikimedia Commons

Children and young adults living in polluted megacities are at increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s, a debilitating brain disease characterised by memory loss, a new study has warned.

“Alzheimer’s disease hallmarks start in childhood in polluted environments, and we must implement effective preventative measures early,” said one of the researchers Lilian Calderon-Garciduenas from University of Montana in the US.

Air pollution can trigger Alzheimer’s. Flickr

“It is useless to take reactive actions decades later,” Calderon-Garciduenas said. The findings, published in the Journal of Environmental Research, indicate that Alzheimer’s starts in early childhood, and the disease progression relates to age, pollution exposure and status of Apolipoprotein E (APOE 4), a well-known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s. The researchers studied 203 autopsies of Mexico City residents in the US ranging in age from 11 months to 40 years.

Metropolitan Mexico City is home to 24 million people exposed daily to concentrations of fine particulate matter and ozone above US Environmental Protection Agency standards. The researchers tracked two abnormal proteins that indicate development of Alzheimer’s, and they detected the early stages of the disease in babies less than a year old.

Also Read: Your daily cup of coffee can worsen Alzheimer’s symptoms

The scientists found heightened levels of the two abnormal proteins — hyperphosphorylated tau and beta amyloid — in the brains of young urbanites with lifetime exposures to fine-particulate-matter pollution (PM2.5).

They also tracked APOE 4 as well as lifetime cumulative exposure to unhealthy levels of PM2.5 — particles which are at least 30 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair and frequently cause the haze over urban areas. The researchers found hallmarks of the disease among 99.5 percent of the autopsies they examined in Mexico City. In addition, the findings showed that APOE 4 carriers had a higher risk of rapid progression of Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s can cause depression too. Pixabay

The researchers believe the detrimental effects are caused by tiny pollution particles that enter the brain through the nose, lungs and gastrointestinal tract, and these particles damage all barriers and travel everywhere in the body through the circulatory system.

The authors noted that ambient air pollution is a key modifiable risk for millions of people across the globe. “Neuroprotection measures ought to start very early, including the prenatal period and childhood,” Calderon-Garciduenas said. “Defining pediatric environmental, nutritional, metabolic and genetic risk-factor interactions are key to preventing Alzheimer’s disease,” she added. IANS